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The Touch of Christ - 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

For a long time, I didn’t understand why the virtual Masses of the pandemic were so wearisome to me. Theoretically, shouldn’t it be a tired mother’s dream, fulfilling her Sunday obligation from the couch, not having to worry how much noise the kids are making? But it wasn’t. Seeing Mass without experiencing it left me hungry. It left me starving. Then a wise priest explained it to me. “Watching virtual Mass is like taking a virtual shower,” he said. Grace might not be something we can see with our eyes, but it is very much something that is transmitted physically. Jesus has a human body for a reason. He needs to touch people. We see that nowhere more clearly than in this Gospel. The crowds are pressing on him, everyone trying to get close, everyone trying to share his space. The hemorrhaging woman claws her way through, desperate to make physical contact with him, any part of him, even his cloak. The synagogue official begs Jesus to come and “lay hands” on his daughter, knowing that this is the only way for her to survive. He doesn’t ask for Jesus’ good thoughts or approving gaze. He knows that isn’t what he needs. In the Gospels, Jesus saves people chiefly through his own touch because he wants to show us — you and me, sitting in the pews — something very important about how we are saved. But where do you and I find the touch of Jesus Christ? Where do you and I find salvation? It’s in the water flowing over the infant’s forehead. It’s in the Host dissolving on our tongues. It’s in the oil that is pressed to the skin of the confirmand, the dying man, and the brand-new priest. It’s in the embrace of the newly married couple. It’s in the extended hand of the priest as he says, “Your sins are forgiven.” It’s still here, two thousand years later. It’s still waiting for us to reach out and grasp it. By Colleen Jurkiewicz Dorman ©LPi

“If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” - Mark 5:28


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